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Stuff I Used On My P166 circa 1999

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tasktray.gif (3376 bytes)

People are often surprized when they see my task tray (capture above.)  I find most of these indispensible, so I thought I'd share them with you.

1 - Norton AntiVirus
My roomie gave me a Word macro virus, so I decided to go ahead and get a full virus scanner.  I'm thinking of disabling this real-time component.  But GetRight automagically scans every download.  That helps my peace of mind.
2 - Sound Blaster Mixer
When I bought this machine I was still playing a lot of DOS games.  I've seen one testimonial that has me leaning to the Turtle Beach Montego for my next machine.
3 - System Agent
Part of the Microsoft Plus! pack.  It really should have been a gimme with the OS.   Irritating.  Anyway, for me the most important feature is I use it to set alarms to myself and simply pop up a TXT file.  If necessary I'll edit the TXT to tell me what the alarm is for.  Since I have such a simple life I don't need a full-featured PIM.  Just a reminder once in a while.
4 - Matrox control panel
I've had very good luck with the Matrox Millenium.  Rock-solid drivers.  I've considered the new MGA-G200 for my next machine.  But it sounds like the Voodoo2 is still better for Quake-type games.  But I probably will get another Millenium for my main display.
5 - SciTech Display Doctor
This is one that isn't essential.  I needed it to run one of the Quake-type engines I downloaded to test.  One use for this program would be if you have a display adapter with flakey drivers.  SDD could act as a replacement.  Basically, it works and doesn't get in the way, so I haven't bothered to get rid of it.  For programmers, one reason to follow that link would be to download the MGL graphics library.   It looks like a pretty good cross-platform library, with source, for free.  At the very least, it's a good starting point.
6 - Desktop Contents
One of the Win 95 PowerToys.  For the most often used items, obviously the Start Menu is the best place.  But that gets crowded quickly.  So the desktop is a good place to put several more not-quite-as-often-used items.  The big problem is having to minimize or move windows to get at the desktop.  This little toy displays the desktop icons in a list for quick access.  One potential problem with this program actually is an advantage. It displays the icons in unsorted order, however they appear on disk.  To put them in a useful order, move them to a temporary directory.   In a DOS box in that temp directory, dir /b > xxx.bat.  Edit the bat file and sort them into whatever order you wish.  Add a move command to each to send them back to the WINDOWS\DESKTOP directory.  Now, the order in the list is what you want.   Of course, there are several other toys in that pack that are useful.
7 - Pilot HotSync
I like my little geek box.  See my Palm Pilot Utilities page.
8 - Dunce
A little utility to automagically fire up a list of programs when you initiate a DUN connection.  I went ahead and upgraded to Dunce Gold, which lets you define different programs for different DUN connections.  I used that to define one DUN connection for Quaking that is minimal, and another to fire up a slew of other programs when I'm just surfing.
9 - Norton Safe on the Web
Came with Norton AntiVirus.  This doesn't appear near as useful as the hype made it seem.  It's going to go one of these days.
10 - EzDesk
Mickeysoft sucks.  Every once in awhile it'll forget how you have the icons arranged on your desktop.  This little utility fixes that.  It saves off the position of each icon and puts them back when you reboot (or when you ask, if it happens during a session.)  And it'll remember a different layout for each resolution.
11 - GetRight
A download manager that works seamlessly with web browsers.  Most important, it'll resume a download that gets interrupted on servers that support that, which is most these days.  Also, it'll automagically queue up downloads if you've started a bunch.   I have mine set to download three files at once and queue the rest up.  That way, you get the first few more quickly.  And you can easily stop and resume any download.   And you can tell it to check multiple sources and it'll download from the least busy.  Overall, a very slick implementation of a simple procedure.
12 - RealPlayer
If you're on the net, you need this.
13 - Modem
Nothing special, here.
14 - AOL Instant Messenger
Comes bundled with Netscape.  I know a few people on AOL, so this is useful for knowing when they're online and chatting with them.
15 - Popit
Check multiple POP3 mailboxes.  Includes an anti-spam feature.  Give it a list of spammer domains or full addresses and it'll optionally delete messages, with or without sending a complaint letter to the originating ISP.  The mailboxes you see above are mine, Bruce's and Wench's.
16 - NetMedic
Monitors your ISP, the net and the server and reports problems.  Helps diagnose slow connections, a little bit.  Mostly just interesting information.
17 - ICQ
A full-featured utility for spotting when your friends are online and sending messages or chatting with them.
18 - Clock
Nothing special.  In addition to this digital clock I'm using the round clock from the Powertoys.  Sometimes analog is better and other times digital, so it's nice to have both.

Other stuff

A programmer's editor.  These guys think like I do.  It has a C-like macro language, but I've only ever written about 5 lines of code in it.  Almost every time I've wanted a feature, it was already available as an option.  I use it for 90% of my editing.  It automagically writes to disk when you switch to another task, so it works fairly well with MS DevStudio.
I tried Forte, but found it clumsy.  Gravity fits with the way I like to peruse newsgroups.  Not that I have much time to read newsgroups.  And they're just not as focused and useful as Compuserve's moderated forums.
If you've used MetaCrawler you know about multi-engine search pages.  But seeing 20 or so hits per page and having to wait between pages is a pain.  WebFerret runs on your local machine and hits some 25 search engines and displays the hits in a standard listbox.  This makes it much quicker to skim up and down the list of hits.

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Last modified: September 24, 2006
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